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"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice has filed a $5 million lawsuit against her former attorney alleging malpractice.
The lawsuit comes after Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud, reports the New York Daily News. The prison sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Giudice later claimed she didn't understand the plea deal meant she would have to go to prison.
What's behind the latest twist in this ongoing celebrity legal drama?
In her malpractice claim against former attorney James Kridel, Giudice claims that Kridel is the one responsible for the botched bankruptcy filing in 2010 that led to bankruptcy fraud charges being brought against Giudice and her husband Joe Giudice.
The couple was indicted for bankruptcy fraud after admitting to hiding assets from creditors. The Giudices were also involved in a scheme that involved submitting phony loan applications, receiving up to $5 million in fraudulent loans. Earlier this year, Giudice and her husband both pleaded guilty to charges of bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy. Teresa was sentenced to 15 months while Joe was hit with a 41-month sentence.
In addition to messing up the original filing, Giudice's lawsuit alleges that Kridel also made faulty amendments to the couple's bankruptcy documents and failed to properly prepare the couple for a hearing in front of the Bankruptcy Court trustee and creditors who were owed $13 million by Giudice and her husband.
Malpractice claims against lawyers are similar to other negligence lawsuits in that it must be proved that a lawyer violated a duty owed to a client by failing to exercise the reasonable care generally used by those in the legal profession and that this lead to the client suffering damages.
Kridel could not be reached for comment by the Daily News. But in an earlier interview with People, Kridel said that prior to becoming a television star, Teresa Giudice may not have known what was happening with the family's finances. "I did not believe that Teresa was all that knowledgeable about any of the finances of her family until ultimately she became the breadwinner," said Kridel.
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